Bones found on South Pacific island belonged to Amelia Earhart, study concludes

Aviator Amelia Earhart pictured sitting in the cockpit of her Electra airplane. File Photo UPI

March 8 (UPI) — The bones found several decades ago on a remote island in the South Pacific were likely those of famed pilot Amelia Earhart. Anthropologist Richard Jantz is 99 percent sure of it.

Jantz, a professor and researcher at the University of Tennessee, recently reanalyzed measurements taken of the bones by physician D. W. Hoodless. In 1940, Hoodless determined the bones belonged to a man — not Earhart, who disappeared along with her plane in 1937.

In a new paper published in the journal Forensic Anthropology, Jantz presents evidence contradicting Hoodless’ conclusion.

Jantz is the co-creater of a computer program designed to analyze the sex, ancestry and stature of a person based on skeletal measurements. When Jantz plugged the measurements made by Hoodless into the Fordisc program, the models determined the remains have more in common with Earhart than 99 percent of the people in a sizable reference sample.

Jantz also used a photograph of Earhart and a measurable, scalable object to estimate the lengths of her radius and humerus bones. The estimates matched those recorded by Hoodless.

The George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers at Purdue University also turned up measurements taken by a seamstress in preparation for a new pair of trousers, allowing Jantz to estimate the length of the groundbreaking pilot’s tibia. The estimate also matched Hoodless’ records.

“Until definitive evidence is presented that the remains are not those of Amelia Earhart, the most convincing argument is that they are hers,” Jantz said in a news release.

The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic disappeared while attempting to circumnavigate the globe. Along with her plane and her navigator, Fred Noonan, Earhart disappeared over the Pacific while flying from Papua New Guinea to Howland Island.

Many assumed Earhart crashed into the ocean and drowned, but Jantz and others suggest she died stranded on the island of Nikumaroro.

In 1940, searchers found a woman’s shoe, sextant box and Benedictine bottle, something Earhart was known to carry. They also found several bones.

“[Earhart] was known to have been in the area of Nikumaroro Island, she went missing, and human remains were discovered which are entirely consistent with her and inconsistent with most other people,” Jantz said.


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